It's a Book
By Lane Smith
(Roaring Brook Press, Hardcover, 9781596436060, 32pp.)
Publication Date: August 10, 2010
List Price: $12.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.
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Playful and lighthearted with a subversive twist that is signature Lane Smith, IT’S A BOOK is a delightful manifesto on behalf of print in the digital age. This satisfying, perfectly executed picture book has something to say to readers of all stripes and all ages.
His books have appeared on the New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year list four times. Lane and book designer Molly Leach live in rural Connecticut.
“I do love this book.” —The New Yorker magazine's, Book Bench blog
“Those of us for whom books are a faith in themselves — who find the notion that pixels, however ordered, could be any kind of substitute for the experience of reading in a chair with the strange thing spread open on our lap — will love this book. Though it will surely draw a laugh from kids, it will give even more pleasure to parents who have been trying to make loudly the point that Smith’s book makes softly: that the virtues of a book are independent of any bells, whistles or animation it might be made to contain. . . . For in trying to make the case for books to our kids, exactly the case we want to make is not that they can compete with the virtues of computer or screens, but that they do something else: that they allow for a soulfulness the screens, with their jumpy impersonality, cannot duplicate . . . The moral of Smith’s book is the right one: not that screens are bad and books are good, but that what books do depends on the totality of what they are — their turning pages, their sturdy self-sufficiency, above all the way they invite a child to withdraw from this world into a world alongside ours in an activity at once mentally strenuous and physically still.” —Adam Gopnick, in The New York Times Book Review
“This tongue-in-cheek picture book about reading in the digital age features the best last line ever written in the history of children’s literature. Savor it in print rather than trying to read it on your Nook, Kindle or iPad —the punchline will be much better that way.” —USA Today’s “Pop Candy” blog
“Stylishly designed.” — The Wall Street Journal, in its Summer Big Books Preview
“In the age of e-readers, Smith offers a wry tribute to the printed word through a conversation about a book. As a gorilla sits reading quietly, a technophilic donkey pesters him about the source of his absorption: "Can it text? Tweet? Wi-Fi?" He may be a complete ass, but the donkey finally comes to understand the value of a good book — least of all, no batteries required!” —AARP.com
“Donkey's gradual capitulation to the power of a real book is marked by both the hands of the clock (in a droll double-page time-lapse sequence) and the angles of his ears. But it's a mouse's final insouciant line that garners the biggest laugh.” —The Washington Post
“Welcome to a stunning picture-book entry in the print versus e-books debate. . . One of this year’s best last lines will not be spoiled here.” —The Chicago Tribune
“This is a picture book that captures a defining moment in—dare I say it? —civilization as we know it.” —The Miami Herald
“Lane Smith brilliantly captures the fears of today’s book lovers over e-readers in a children’s book — and does so with great humor.” —The New York Post
“Dry humor permeates the visual exchanges. With a cheeky punch line (kids, do not try it at home), Smith uses irreverence to express reverence for the book.” —The San Francisco Chronicle
“Personally, we laughed our a$$ off—and we know a few kids who will, too.” — Time Out New York Kids
“If you’re a picture book connoisseur, chances are you’re already familiar with Lane Smith. . . . Smith’s latest picture book is called IT’S A BOOK. . . It’s a very cute book, short and sweet. The illustrations are charming—particularly the monkey’s expressions—and your kids will love the silly questions the donkey asks about the monkey’s book.” —Wired magazine’s “Geek Dad” blog
“Young readers, who are, after all, digital natives, will get a real kick out of Smith's book, as will their increasingly technology-obsessed parents.” —Scripps Howard News Service
“In our increasingly electronic world, it’s easy to forget the sweet simplicity of a book. In Lane Smith's delightful It's a Book, the high-tech generation, especially youngsters, can rediscover the fun there is to be had between two covers. The playful read is something you and your grandchildren can enjoy together, time and again.” —The Bellingham Herald
“Adults who think their kids can handle the language with a wink and a smile will love reading this book aloud to their kids and having a great old belly laugh right along with them.” —McClatchy-Tribune newswire“Smith addresses e-literacy in his irreverent style. . . . Meanwhile, Smith has the best of both worlds: his stylish drawings, sleek typography, and kid-friendly humor combine old media and new.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED “The final punch line . . . will lead to a fit of naughty but well-deserved laughter, and shouts of ‘Encore.’ A clever choice for readers, young and old, who love a good joke and admire the picture book’s ability to embody in 32 stills the action of the cinema.” —School Library Journal, STARRED
“This is an exceptional picture book by an A-list award-winning, best-selling author/illustrator; a book that is promoting literacy and poking fun at those people who are forever glued to their computer screens. I’m quite curious to see how this one will play out. Especially when IT’S A BOOK starts showing up on a bunch of Best of the Year lists. Including mine.” —Richie’s Picks“Wickedly funny.” —The Horn Book
“Smith throws down his gauntlet in the ongoing debate over digital versus print.” —Booklist
“Universally comical . . . the refrain and pacing hit the sweet spot for preschoolers, while a Treasure Island passage reduced to AIM-speak will have middle schoolers and adults in stitches.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A must-read for every publisher concerned about the impact of electronic publishing issues and every child who wants to enjoy more of their childhood and Lane Smith’s arch style. A devilish ending may scare a few... if it’s you? Lighten up.” —Publishers Weekly, named a “Staff Pick” by PW publisher George Slowik, Jr.
“I just received my finished copy of IT'S A BOOK, and I am simply mad for it. I want to give it to every i-Pad/Kindle-loving friend, to every skeptic who doubts the endurance of book culture in the 21st century, and certainly to children who must, must, must be shown the enchantments of holding a real book in their tiny hands. I hope IT'S A BOOK is a huge, huge success, and not just as a children's book.” —Irma Wolfson, Book Buyer, Fontainebleau Hotel
“A spirited parable that should be required reading for every youngster likely to find piles of shiny new gadgets under the tree this year.” —The New Yorker magazine’s “Book Bench” blog, in its piece “Holiday Gift Guide for the Precocious Child”